‘DESERT STORM’ - NAMIBIA PHOTO WORKSHOP

Price: €4990 pp (price valid until November 1st, 2014) / Deposit: €990 pp

  • ‘DESERT STORM’ - NAMIBIA PHOTO WORKSHOP
  • ‘DESERT STORM’ - NAMIBIA PHOTO WORKSHOP
  • ‘DESERT STORM’ - NAMIBIA PHOTO WORKSHOP
  • ‘DESERT STORM’ - NAMIBIA PHOTO WORKSHOP
  • ‘DESERT STORM’ - NAMIBIA PHOTO WORKSHOP
  • ‘DESERT STORM’ - NAMIBIA PHOTO WORKSHOP
  • ‘DESERT STORM’ - NAMIBIA PHOTO WORKSHOP
  • ‘DESERT STORM’ - NAMIBIA PHOTO WORKSHOP

BOOK NOW

AVAILABILITY

28th February - 11th March 2015

Far at the southern tip of Africa lies a fascinating, beautiful and truly bizarre place. The jewel of the south, the magical Namibia.
Namibia is a huge country with an equally monstrous variety of photographic potential. Join professional landscape photographers Erez Marom and Hougaard Malan as they guide you on this comprehensive 12-day workshop, where you will experience first hand its mind-boggling beauty, and be taken to the very best spots in this mesmerising, often perplexing land.
Immense red dunes rising over 300 meters above the earth in the world's oldest desert, sweeping thunderstorms, petrified trees left from another era centuries ago, a ghost town built, populated and then suddenly abandoned, you will see and shoot all off these and more, from the ground and from the air, under top professional assistance and dedicated guidance. Locations and phenomena that will make you doubt the world you know and simply watch in awe, as landscapes you never imagined unveil in front of your eyes.

MAIN FEATURES

  • Spectacular and very diverse locations: Quiver Tree Forest, Kolmanskop, Sossusvlei, The Namib Rand and Fish River Canion
  • 1-hour photography helicopter flight over the red dunes of Sossusvlei
  • Summer weather ensures a good probability of lightning storms, double rainbows and amazing clouds, in addition to green grass in the Namib Rand - a huge photographic advantage 
  • Professional photo guidance by two esteemed landscape photographers
  • Some of the best lodges in Africa
  • Comfortable bus transfer with two seats per participant, to make access to your photo gear easy and safe

ITINERARY

Day 1 Windhoek 

The guesthouse shuttle will collect all arriving guests from the Windhoek International Airport during the day. At 18:00 we will head to the famous Joe’s Beer House for dinner where everyone is introduced and the guides will get you excited about the photo opportunities that lie ahead.


Day 2 Quiver Tree Forest

After Breakfast at the hotel, we'll board our spacious bus and journey 500km south to Quiver Tree Forest. Found in only in South-Western Africa, quiver “trees” are actually very large succulent plants. With their cracking golden-white bark and remarkable shape, they make great photographic subjects. We’ll arrive at our destination early afternoon, leaving plenty of time for everyone to familiarize themselves with the amazing trees. The group will be split in two and the other half will shoot sunset at Giant’s Playground, which is just around the corner and offers identical photo opportunities. After sunset we’ll have dinner at the lodge and get to bed early.

Sunrise at Quiver Tree Forest
Quiver Tree Forest is a great location for night photography


Day 3 Fish River Canyon – The World’s 2nd Largest Canyon

The moon will rise at 4:30am this morning, so we’ll get up at around 3:30am to capture the rising of a near full moon amongst the Quiver Trees. Twilight will start at about 5:30, giving us 3 hours of shooting in a great variety of lighting conditions. After breakfast we make the 3-hour drive Southwest to Fish River Lodge, which is perched on a cliff edge overlooking the world’s 2nd largest canyon. This hotel is constantly rated as one of the most breathtaking in Namibia and it offers amazing photographic opportunities. We’ll spend the afternoon exploring the cliff edges for foregrounds that complement the endless expanse of the canyon. This location also offers great opportunities to photograph quiver trees in case you feel you didn't get enough at the forest.


Day 4 Kolmanskop – The Ghostly Remains of  Diamond Rush

This morning will be the highlight of convenience on the workshop as we photograph a quiver tree on the cliff edge from the lodge’s pool deck. After breakfast we'll get back in our bus and make a 3-hour drive to the Coastal town of Luderitz. We’ll spend a long afternoon familiarizing ourselves with the many colorful, sand filled rooms of Kolmanskop. Situated just 5 minutes inland from Luderitz, it is the long forgotten site of one of the greatest diamond rushes in history. Just after the turn of the 19th century, German mining companies invested a fortune to build an entire town in the middle of nowhere. Everything from the door frames to the paint was imported from Germany and today the desert is reclaiming this once-glorious town. Despite being flooded with sand, the dry climate has done an amazing job of preserving the colorful rooms. There are well over 25 rooms worth photographing, so everyone can do their own thing. The guides will assist everyone to identify a room with an east-facing window for the next morning. After sunset we’ll have dinner at the Hotel.

Eerie symmetry and colors in Kolmanskop
The sun peeks in through the collapsed roof at a beautiful, less visited room
Can you hear the silence?


Day 5 Capturing the Ghost Town

We’ll get up for an early coffee and depart for the Ghost town in darkness. The guides will make sure that everyone is in place for a beam of orange light in the buildings as the sun crests the horizon in the East. After a quick morning shoot we'll head back to the hotel for breakfast. We'll return to Kolmanskop just before noon to make sure we capture the shadows of open roof slats under a 1 o'clock sun, and then have another relaxed afternoon exploring the Ghost town.

The desert drowns the town with sand, sometimes well over half the doors' height!
Exceptional light and compositions waiting to be found
High noon doesn't mean no shooting - on the contrary: the harsh sun creates unique patterns when penetrating through the slotted rooftops

Days 6, 7 The Namib Rand – Red dunes, Fairy Circles, Thunder Storms and Namibia's Best Lodge

After a final morning in the abandoned diamond town, we'll depart for what is considered the best lodge in Namibia – Wolwedans. It is nestled in the heart of the Namib Rand and has the highest density of Fairy Circles found anywhere in the world. Fairy Circles are to this day still a phenomenon we don’t fully understand. They are circular patches of land where nothing grows, typically found mostly in the grass fields of Namibia. What causes fairy circles isn't that important to us, all we know is that they make intriguing landscape photos. We'll have 2 sunrises and 2 sunsets in this amazing location to capture the unique combination of grass, dunes, trees and mountains.

Wonderful pre-sunrise color over the red dunes of the Namib Rand
Summer in Namibia means a high probability of thunder storms and rainbows!

The Namib Rand is the ultimate location to shoot the typical Namib landscape - red dunes, green grass, storm clouds, all in one beautiful package.

A telephoto shot of quiver trees and a rainbow - a super combo!
Climbing the massive dunes allows us to shoot from unique vantage points

Days 8, 9, 10 -  Deadvlei, The World’s Highest Dunes, Aerial Photography

Our final destination is Sossusvlei; a one of a kind landscape created by an ancient river flowing into the desert. Like several other rivers in Namibia, the Tsauchab River used to flow from the mountains, through the desert, all the way to the coast. Thousands of years ago it was cut off from the ocean by the expanding desert and this created a seasonal wetland amongst the dunes. Over the millennia, this wetland has retreated inland as the Namib Desert slowly reclaims the valley that the river cuts through the dunes. As it stands today, Sossusvlei is about 60 kilometers from the coast, but still 40 kilometers into the towering red dunes of the Namib Desert. Although the river only flows all the way to Sossus a few times every decade, the valley still sustains a large population of wildlife amongst the dunes. There is always the chance that we may witness the river in flood and since it hasn’t flooded since 2012, the statistics are in our favor.

The amazing photos of snaking dune spines are all captured along the 40km drive into the Tsauchab Dune Valley. Thanks to this valley’s East-West orientation, the afternoon sun creates deep black shadows on the Eastern side and bright red colors on the Western side of the dunes. This offers great opportunities for telephoto shots of snaking dune spines. The afternoons can often go up to 45 degrees Celsius, in which case we’ll opt for this more convenient sunset shoot.

A towering dune casts a shadow on another. The full-sized trees can convey the immensity of these dunes, the tallest in the world
A lone tree dwarfed by the beautiful red dunes

At the end of the Tsauchab Dune Valley is the famous Deadvlei, which was cut off from Sossusvlei by a low dune an estimated 700-800 years ago. The lack of water, arid climate and hard wood of the Namibian Camel Thorn tree has kept the trees of Deadvlei from decomposing. The result is a collection ghostly trees rising from a cracked white clay surface. The pan is deceptively large and offers about 50 of the oddly shaped trees to photograph. The location can be overwhelming at first, but the guides know the location well and will assist everyone to find the best trees and photograph them adequately.

Please note: Reaching Deadvlei requires walking 1.1km on soft sand and over a dune that is about 50 meters high. The climb is very gradual and we'll tentatively only do it in the mornings when it is still cool. For a person in reasonable shape it won't be a problem. The guides will always be available to help carry heavy camera when the going gets tough.

There are many great lodges at Sossusvlei, but only one of them allows you to shoot in the ideal hours and thus it’s not always easy to get a booking there. We’ve been able to book out half of the lodge, which makes it unlikely that we’ll be sharing sunrises in Deadvlei with other photographic groups. Moreover, we might have the truly unique experience of shooting Deadvlei by night (not yet guaranteed but in the works).

 
Aerial photography: The workshop includes a one-hour helicopter flight for aerial photography. Flying over this landscape and capturing it from above is a once in a lifetime experience. The operator has two Robinson Raven II R44’s, which can take 3 passengers at a time. Upon arrival at Sossusvlei we will draw up a roster to figure out who will go for aerials on which mornings/afternoon. The rest of the group will still go about the morning and afternoon shoots as usual, while the respective people take their turn to go for aerial photography.

Aerial photography is a truly fantastic experience, and when combined with some of the most impressive desert landscapes on earth, it's simply delightful!

Day 11 Back to Windhoek

After a last sunrise at Sossusvlei, we’ll say goodbye to the sands of the Namib and board our bus one last time. We’ll take a scenic drive back North, stopping at the famous solitaire restaurant for lunch and crossing over the scenic Spreetshoogte pass. After checking into the guesthouse in Windhoek we’ll go for a final dinner at Joe’s Beer House. The guesthouse will arrange all shuttles to the airport the next day. 

Day 12 Departure

After breakfast at the hotel, the shuttle will take you to Hosea Kutako International Airport for your flight home.

PRICING AND DETAILS

Total Price: €4990 (Euros) per person in double room for participants registering by November 1st, 2014. €5190 for participants registering afterwards.

Single room supplement: €490

Deposit: €990

Maximum Number of Participants: 13

Spaces Available: 7

Physical Difficulty: Intermediate. There will be some dune climbing, and the high temperatures and harsh sunlight can prove exhausting. There will be short hikes of up to 30 minutes, some on sand, to get to specific locations. To make things easier, you may choose to rest on occasion, and skip a shoot here or there. We have enough time in each location to make sure you make the most of it, even if you don't make it to all the shoots. The guides are always available to help with carrying the equipment and make your stay easier.

WORKSHOP PRICE INCLUDES

  • Lodging on days 1-11. On each location we will stay in the best accommodation possible. The quality varies from very nice, comfortable rooms to super-high-end lodging
  • Private pickup and dropoff from Windhoek Hosea Kutako International Airport
  • Dinner on day 1
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner on days 2-11. Since we'll go out early to shoot sunrise most of the days, breakfast will be either packed or served after the morning shoot
  • Breakfast on day 12
  • Professional photography guidance by two esteemed nature photographers
  • 1-hour helicopter flight over Sossusvlei national park, offering the chance to do aerial photography of spectacular desert landscape
  • Travels in a spacious, comfortable bus offering ample room for you and your photoraphy gear, and two seats per participant for maximal comfort
  • All entrance and photography fees
  • Taxes on all services listed above

WORKSHOP PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE

  • Airfare to and from Windhoek Hosea Kutako International Airport
  • Insurance. It is MANDATORY to insure yourself against physical injury, and highly recommended to insure your photo gear. Tour leaders will not be responsible in case of any personal injuries or damage to photographic gear as a result of an accident during the workshop. A good insurance policy can make a big difference should something happen, and ensure a safe return home.
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Non-meal-time snacks other than in lodges which offer them freely
  • Non-meal-time soft drinks other than in lodges which offer them freely
  • Single room supplement (€490)

WHAT TO BRING

Photography Equipment

  • A digital camera, preferrably a DSLR camera with a full-frame sensor, since these cameras have better low-light capabilities. However, a crop-sensor DSLR will also completely suffice. A compact camera can be used, as long as you understand its limitations.
  • A tripod, as light and as stable as possible. I recommend a carbon fiber tripod.
  • An ultra wide angle lens. For example, a Canon 17-40 on a FF sensor camera, or a Nikon 10-24 on a crop sensor camera.
  • A telephoto zoom lens, such as a 70-200 or 70-300.
  • Recommended: a wide aperture ultra-wide angle such as the Samyang 14mm f/2.8 for night photography.
  • Recommended: A filter set for landscape photography. I personally use Lee, Heliopan and Singh-Ray filters. A good filter set is worth its weight in gold for a landscape enthousiast. If you need to consult about buying a filter set, I'll be happy to help.
  • Recommended: A camera remote.


Clothing

  • Light, breatheable clothing. A long-sleeve breathing shirt and convertible hiking pants are important
  • A wide hat
  • A light, warm jacket for cold mornings and night shoots
  • Recommended: Hiking shoes
  • Recommended: sandals
     

Other

  • Sun screen
  • Sun glasses
  • Insect repellent

WORKSHOP LEADERS

Erez Marom

Born in 1980, Erez Marom is a full-time nature photographer, photography guide, writer and traveler-adventurer based in Israel. Specializing in wildlife and landscape photography, Erez spends much of his time in the field shooting the wildlife and scenery of his favorite locations in Israel and overseas.
In addition, Erez publishes articles and instructional texts in leading magazines and websites, and dedicates a considerable amount of his time to sharing his experience and knowledge by lecturing worldwide and traveling several times a year to guide his unique photography workshops.

Hougaard Malan

After finishing school and naively thinking engineering or architecture are good directions to go in, Hougaard learnt his calling when he picked up a DSLR camera. Seven years on it is his profession and passion and his name is synonymous with landscape photography in Southern Africa. His work has been published in every imaginable form of media, both locally and internationally.
Hougaard has spent almost 150 days capturing Namibia's photographic hotspots and knows the locations like his backyard. He speaks Afrikaans, which is the predominant language in the South of Namibia. Over the years he has learnt exactly which lodges have the best access to the locations, when is the best time to shoot each place and what permits are required. All these factors make him the ideal local guide for a photographic tour in Namibia.

OTHER TERMS AND CONDITIONS

Payment Procedure

In order to secure your spot, you are required to transfer a deposit of €990. This deposit will be refunded only in case the workshop gets cancelled for some reason. For your comfort, the deposit can be payed through PayPal.

The full amount (after discounts if applicable) must be payed via wire transfer 75 days prior to the workshop starting date.
In the case you need to cancel your participation, a 75% refund (not including deposit) will be given up to 45 days prior to the workshop starting date.
I reserve the right to increase the price of the workshop if costs rise due to unexpected changes in fees, taxes or exchange rates.

Disclaimer

The tour plan above is subject to change in extreme cases.
Important: In order to join the workshop, you will be required to sign a contract that establishes that the tour leaders are not responsible to physical or proprietary damages, and that you understand and accept several behavioral standards (including not taking excessive risk), necessary to ensure the workshop's success and your safe return.
Thunderstorms can't be guaranteed, of course, but in the Namibian summer they are quite common, and there's a good chance of shooting them.

BOOK NOW

AVAILABILITY

28th February - 11th March 2015